Whether you’re fresh out of university or just ready to make a change, everyone can use some updated ammo to power their job search!
Heading into the New Year means taking the time to think about what you want, evaluate your career and life goals, and then taking actions to get to where you want to be.
We’ve got a few tips to help kick off your search right:
1. Write your best resume Your resume might have worked for you before, but it’s not guaranteed to work for you again. You’ve got to keep it updated, looking fresh, and filled with relevant information to today’s job market - not last year’s. Give your career objective another look over; re-write your cover letters (which you should do anyway for each company you apply to!); update your experience with your most recent achievements, and give it a fresh look.
2. Stay motivatedIt can be tough to keep searching for jobs when you feel like the interviews are never-ending and the follow-ups are lacking, but hang in there. The beginning of the year can be a tough time to job hunt, but things do tend to pick up after Chinese New Year. It’s important that you start your job search now, so that you’ve got enough momentum going to take you through.
3. Learn how to market yourselfAdvertising works because it’s targeted to a specific audience based on their needs, preferences and desires. You need to take the same approach when you advertise yourself - and your capabilities - to potential employers. Make a list of the companies or types of roles you want to target to help narrow your job search. Do you research on the companies so that you understand them as much as possible, and know how to showcase your skills properly. Basically, sell yourself! But don’t go crazy with it… no one likes a pushy salesman.
4. Self-evaluate (honestly)Understanding what you want, what you’re good at, and how you can apply those skills to your chosen career will set you leaps and bounds ahead of your peers in your job search. Be honest with yourself when you’re answering questions such as, “what are my weakest points?” and “what could I have tried harder on this past year?”. Have an open and honest conversation with a family member, peer or mentor to get some additional feedback. These conversations can also help you understand how you come across to a potential employer. It’s time for a reality check!
5. Do dummy interviews There’s a reason for the old adage “practice makes perfect”. Especially if you’re an inexperienced job seeker, do a few practice runs of an interview! Either enlist a friend or family member to help out, or there are some very good practice interview videos on YouTube. Ideally, do a few practice runs with different people. This will give you a range of feedback and things to improve on or take note of - all very helpful when prepping for the real thing.
6. Understand the importance of networkingIt’s not what you know, it’s who you know. While you might think “that sucks!” as a fresh grad with loads of knowledge and little networks, don’t panic. It’s just time to get out there a bit more. You’d be surprised what a few hours’ networking at just one or two events can achieve. Make sure people have a way of contacting you, or get their business cards so you can touch base with them after meeting. Be friendly, smile, and remember your manners - because you never know who you might run into, or what they might be able to help you with (now or in the future!)
7. Do what you want, not what someone else wants you to doThis is probably one of the hardest things for many young professionals who are keen to please their parents or live up to certain family expectations, but it’s absolutely necessary that you find a career path you are passionate about. Family pressures can be hard to fight against, but try to plant the seed as early as possible about your chosen goals. Explain what it means to you, what you aim to achieve, and a roadmap of how you will be successful in your career. Ask for their support and work hard. Show your parents or family that even though you might not have chosen they path they wanted for you, you can come out on top.
8. Be prepared to work hardYou’re never going to step into your dream role from day one. You’re also not going to earn what you want, get the promotions you want, and have the respect you want from the get-go. All these things must be earned, and absolutely nothing is guaranteed. Just because you have worked somewhere for one year doesn’t entitle you to a pay rise, and just because your colleague got promoted doesn’t mean you will. But work hard, reach your goals and hit your targets and you will get to where you want.
9. Help othersNo one knows the pain of job searching more than those who have just gone through it. So, once you’ve found yourself a job you’re happy in, take the time to make necessary introductions and qualified recommendations for your friends who are still seeking employment. Be careful who you recommend (after all, a bad recommendation will reflect poorly on you and your judgement) but keep an eye out for your mates.
10. Stay positive!Finally, keep a smile on your face. Searching for your next role isn’t easy, but it’s much more enjoyable when you remind yourself that you’re doing everything in your power to land the job you want. And that’s worth celebrating.